[4e] blaster wizards is the best wizard

The Blaster Wizards, a home-brewed wizards that blasts things, and that’s about it. THere’s a few utility spells, and you shouldn’t worry beyond that.

“So what do you do?”
“I blast things with magic.”
“And?”
“Sometimes I blast them even harder.”
“…And?”
“Once in a while I blast them twice.”
“…You’re hired.

I should run a Slayer / Knight / Blaster Wizard / Vanguard Warlord 4e session some time (i.e. all classes featuring a simplified power structure).

[D&D 4e/hack] Class: Intuitive Psion

The Intuitive Psion posesses inherent psionic abilities for which they received no training and no warning. They were forced to hide their abilities from a fearful world, while honing them in secret. Their approach to psionic combat is more intuitive and flexible: shifting their psionic resources and opportunities to match a changing battlefield.

This build of a psion ventures into different mechanical territory, which the use of at-will minor actions (“Insight powers”) to trigger off the character’s basic attack. I also kept the use of power points (since I consider it to be a definite psionic class feature in 4e). The tactics for playing an intuitive psion are, I hope, still simple: hit with your basic attack (augmenting as the need arises), and use as many of your Insight Powers as possible.

This build also has the potential to create a melee-based psionic controller with mild support or buffing abilities. (See “Insight: Euphoria” and “Insight: Challenge”.)

Intuitive Psion (Psionic Controller)
Primary/Secondary: INT/WIS

1. Basics

Build a standard psion. Ignore At-Will and Daily attack powers.

2. Gain Class Features: Improvisational Psion, Unrestrained Will

Improvisational Psion: Increase your maximum Power Points by 2. (This will start a 1st-level character at 4 power points.) When you would gain a daily attack power: you may instead increase your maximum Power Points by 2.

Unrestrained Will: The first time in an encounter that you end your turn with zero power points, you must make a saving throw or be dazed (save ends).

3. Gain Psionic Assault

Psionic Assault * At-Will * Standard Action * Attack, Implement, Psionic
Range: Close burst 5
Target: One creature
Attack: INT vs Will
Damage: 1d6 + Intelligence modifier psychic damage
Special: You can use this as a ranged basic attack.

Augment 1
Range: Close burst 20.
Special: If you see the target, you may ignore cover and concealment.
Special: You may choose to deal force damage instead of psychic damage.

Augment 2
Target: One, two or three creatures.
Damage: 1d12 + Intelligence modifier psychic damage
Special: You may use one Insight Power as a free action. You may still use other Insight Powers as minor actions.

4. Insight Powers

Gain two insight powers.

Insight powers require a minor action to use and have effects based on if you’ve hit targets with a basic attack (probably your Psionic Assault). You will primarily be hitting targets with Psionic Assault and using your Minor Action to inflict effects upon the targets. (You might even choose to use your Move Action to select a second effect.) You may use an Insight power multiple times.

Note that when your Psionic Assault is augmented with two power points, you may additionally use an Insight power as a free action.

Insight: Manipulation * At-Will * Minor Action * Psionic, Insight
Target: One creature you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: Slide target 1 square.

Insight: Vertigo * At-Will * Minor Action * Psionic, Insight
Target: One creature you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: Target must make a saving throw or fall prone.

Insight: Confusion * At-Will * Minor Action * Psionic, Insight
Target: One creature you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: Target takes grants combat advantage until the end of your next turn.

Insight: Panic * Minor Augment, Psionic
Target: One creature you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: Deal 2 psychic damage to all creatures adjacent to the target.

Insight: Euporia * At-Will * Minor Action * Psionic
Target: One creature you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: One ally adjacent to the target gains temporary hit points equal to your Wisdom modifier.

Insight: Challenge * At-Will * Minor Action * Psionic
Target: One creature you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: Target is marked until the end of your next turn.

Insight: Vulnerability * At-Will * Minor Action * Psionic, Insight
Target: All creatures you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: Target gains vulnerability 2 psychic until the end of your next turn.

Insight: Doubt * At-Will * Minor Action * Psionic, Insight
Target: All creatures you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: Target is slowed until the end of your next turn.

Insight: Delusion * At-Will * Minor Action * Psionic, Insight
Target: All creatures you have hit with a basic attack this round.
Effect: Targets take -1 to attacks until the end of your next turn.

4. Advancement

When you would gain an at-will attack power: you may instead gain a new Insight power.

When you would gain a daily attack power: you may instead increase your maximum Power Points by 2.

You may mix and match Intuitive and traditional psionic features.

Note: you could take melee training and use Insight powers accordingly. The “Insight: Euphoria” and “Insight: Challenge” powers are meant to very lightly emulate some aspects of the Ardent and Battlemind.

[D&D 4e/hack] Class: Vanguard Warlord

The Vanguard Warlord is a savvy solider who leads her squad by example. Her true strentgh is not merely in the weapon she wields, but in subtle way she drivers her allies to victory.

Warlords are my favorite class, and a great new iteration of a “leader” role that’s different than the traditional cleric. One of my favorite builds is the “lazylord” (i.e. a warlord focuses on granting its allies superior attacks), but that kind of build might be intimidating or problematic for a newer player (who may still be mastering gameplay).

With the stances (“tactics”), most gameplay should be straightforward in terms of picking a benefit and charging into the fray. The “Vanguard Command” power gives a little taste of what it’s like to command your allies, and hopefully the flexibility makes up for the complexity. (It’s also once-per-encounter complexity, so probably not a big deal.) This might be the (mechanically) lightest build for the leader role.

Vanguard Warlord (Martial Leader)
Primary/Secondary: STR/CHR

1. Basics

Build as standard warlord (including Inspiring Word). Ignore standard At-Will, Encounter and Daily attack powers.

2. Gain: Vanguard Command

Vanguard Command * Encounter * Free Action
Effect: Choose an ally than can see or hear you. They may do one of the following:

  • Take a standard action.
  • Shift as many squares as your Charmisma modifier.
  • Make a saving throw with a bonus equal to your Charmisma modifier.
  • Gain hit points equal to your Charmisma modifier.

Special: If you fall to 0 or fewer hit points, you may use this as an Immediate Reaction.

3. Pick two at-will stances

Tactic: Careful Maneuver * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Martial
Effect: When you hit with a basic attack, an ally adjacent to you or the target may shift 1 square.

Tactic: Swift Maneuver * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Martial
Effect: When you hit with a basic attack, an ally you can see may move as many squares as your Charmisma modifier.

Tactic: Coordinated Advance * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Martial
Effect: When you hit with a basic attack, your allies have a +2 bonus to attacks against this enemy until the start of your next turn.

Tactic: Merciless Advance * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Martial
Effect: When you hit with a basic attack, your allies have a +2 bonus to damage rolls against this enemy until the start of your next turn.

Tactic: Distracting Feint * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Martial
Effect: When you hit with a basic attack, you may choose to deal half damage; the target is instead dazed (save ends).

Tactic: Clever Feint * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Martial
Effect: When you miss with a basic attack, an ally you can see may make a basic attack against the target.

4. Advancement

Level 2: Utility power
Level 3: additional use of Vanguard Command
Level 6: Utility power
Level 7: additional stance
Level 10: Utility power

5. Optional feats

Warlord Training (Slayer): In addition to Vanguard stances, the character may also choose from those stances available to Slayers, but only if the stance does not refer to any Slayer-specific ability.

Warord Training (Knight): In addition to Vanguard stances, the character may also choose from those stances available to Knights, but only if the stance does not refer to any Knight-specific ability.

[D&D 4e/hack] Class: Elementalist Sorcerer

The Elementalist Sorcerer channels the elemental forces and becomes a conduit of raw power. She eschews the plodding ways of the wizard’s tower, instead seeking to prove her radical theories through hard-won experience.

This class is designed for players who want to blast their foes with flashy spells while sticking with a simple class structure. The different stances allow the player to choose from different controller powers, forging their own style.

EDIT: Check out someone else’s similar attempt at the Elementalist: http://www.northerngamers.org/files/Elementalist.htm

Elementalist Sorcerer (Arcane Controller)
Primary/Secondary: CHR/CON

1. Basics

Build as standard sorcerer. Ignore standard At-Will, Encounter and Daily attack powers. Take the “Ritual Caster” feat for free.

2. Gain: Elemental Bolt and Elemental Synthesis

Elemental Bolt * At-Will * Standard Action * Attack, Implement, Arcane
Burst 1 in Ranged 10
Target: All creatures in burst
Attack: CHR vs Fortitude
Damage: 1d6 + Charisma modifier damage
Special: You can use this as a ranged basic attack.

Elemental Synthesis * Encounter * Free Action
Trigger: You hit with Elemental Bolt.
Effect: You switch to a different stance and make another attack with Elemental Bolt.

3. Pick two at-will stances

Flame Stance * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Arcane

  • You gain resist 3 fire.
  • Your Elemental Bolt deals additional fire damage equal to your Constitution modifier.
  • When you hit with Elemental Bolt, the target takes ongoing 2 fire damage (save ends).

Frost Stance * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Arcane

  • You gain resist 3 cold.
  • Your Elemental Bolt deals additional cold damage equal to your Constitution modifier.
  • When you hit with Elemental Bolt, the target is slowed until the end of your next turn.

Gale Stance * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Arcane

  • You gain resist 3 thunder.
  • Your Elemental Bolt deals additional thunder damage equal to your Constitution modifier.
  • When you hit with Elemental Bolt, you slide the target 1 square.

Storm Stance * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Arcane

  • You gain resist 3 lightning.
  • Your Elemental Bolt deals additional lightning damage equal to your Constitution modifier.
  • When you hit with Elemental Bolt and the die roll is even, the creature is dazed until the end of your next turn.

Quake Stance * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Arcane

  • You gain resist 3 force.
  • Your Elemental Bolt deals additional force damage equal to your Constitution modifier.
  • When you use Elemental Bolt, you may change any terrain in the burst from difficult terrain to normal terrain or vice versa.

4. Advancement

Level 2: Utility power
Level 3: additional use of Elemental Synthesis
Level 6: Utility power
Level 7: additional stance
Level 10: Utility power

5. Possible Feats

Former Apprentice: You gain the “Magic Missile” power. (So if a player wants access to canonical wizard spell, they can have it.)

Theory of Elemental Synergy: When you switch from one stance to another, you have a +1 power bonus to attack and damage rolls on your next attack.

Theory of Elemental Might: Your Elemental Bolt power does d8 damage instead of d6.

Theory of Elemental Focus: You may use your Elemental Bolt power against a single target instead of a larger burst. The target grants combat advantage to you for this attack.

Theory of Elemental Control: When allies are targetted by your Elemental Bolt attack, you may take a -4 to that attack roll.

[D&D 4e/hack] Class: Inquisitive Cleric

The Inquisitive Cleric is a divine investigator, charged by his order to delve into dark places of the world. Unlike the warpriest, the Inquisitive Cleric prefers to lead from the back and strike foes at range, while protecting and guiding his allies.

This build is useful for a few reasons. The ability of attack and heal from range is a popular trope, and it is also an appropriate tactical choice: hold back, buff your allies, discourage your foes. It’s sometimes hard to encourage new players to take on the Leader role in a party, and we should do everything we can to make that more accessible.

Inquisitive Cleric (Divine Leader)
Primary/Secondary: WIS/CHR

1. Basics

Build as standard cleric (including uses of Healing Word).Ignore standard At-Will, Encounter and Daily attack powers.

2. Gain: Inquisitive Light, Inquisitive Judgement

Inquisitive Light * At-Will * Standard Action * Attack, Implement, Divine
Ranged 5
Target: One creature
Attack: WIS vs Will
Damage: 1d6 + Wisdom modifier radiant damage
Effect: The square is filled with bright light until the end of your turn.
Special: You can use this as a ranged basic attack.

Inquisitive Judgement * Encounter * Free Action
Trigger: You hit with a basic attack.
Effect: Target is blinded and dazed until the end of your next turn.

3. Pick two at-will stances

Enduring Grace * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Divine
Effect: When you hit with a basic attack, grant an ally in 5 squares your Charisma modifier in temporary hit points.

Saving Grace * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Divine
Effect: When you hit with a basic attack, grant an ally in 5 squares a saving throw.

Shielding Grace * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Divine
Effect: When you hit with a basic attack, grant an ally in 5 squares a +1 power bonus to all defenses until the end of your next turn.

Unyielding Grace * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Divine
Effect: Your Inquisitive Light power has Ranged 20 instead of Ranged 5. You may ignore cover and concealment when making your attack.

Sanctifying Grace * At-Will * Minor Action * Stance, Divine
Effect: When you hit an undead creature with a basic attack, it grants combat advantage to you and your allies until the end of your next turn.

4. Advancement

Level 2: Utility power
Level 3: additional use of Inquisitive Judgement
Level 6: Utility power
Level 7: additional stance
Level 10: Utility power

[D&D 4e] More simplified classes, please!

The new D&D Essentials presents some classes that diverge structurally from the kinds of classes defined in the Players Handbook series, and in some cases presents some classes that are much more simplified have a more straightforward playstyle. (Specifically: the Knight and the Slayer.)

I think simplified character classes are great idea. Some players (experienced or novice) may prefer a more straightforward set of options for their character, and focus their game experience on how they roleplay and improvise with those options. When I was playing a Slayer, I felt liberated by a choice of only a few specific, well-honed abilities; I felt a freedom to fill the rest of my gameplay with improvisation and stunts.

Of course, old D&D tropes aside, there is no reason that only fighters should have this kind of simplification. And so, I will soon be posting some homebrewed classes that follow this simplified style:

I explicitly am borrowing from the Slayer class progression here, mainly because it works and it’s easier to build from someone else’s structure (especially in a system with as many moving parts as D&D 4E). These aren’t playtested and probably need rebalancing, but they should be a start if you’re willing to hack. I also take some shortcuts (for example, only developing the classes for Heroic Tier), and I hope that works for you.

Expect the first classes to be posted today.

Edit: I forgot to mention that a major impetus for this was discussion on the At-Will blog about combat speed: The Speed of Choice: the Real Reason your 4e Fights are so Damn Slow. My takeaway is that character classes should be available to fit a players complexity/choice threshold, wherever that may be.